Kerry's Visa Pledge Credible

Kerry's Visa Pledge CredibleKerry's Visa Pledge Credible

Iran is satisfied with the assurances provided by US Secretary of State John Kerry that the new amendments against Iran in the visa law will not hurt its economic interests or the July 14 nuclear deal, a senior nuclear negotiator said.

Abbas Araqchi also said on Monday Kerry's assurance is credible enough for Iran to avoid taking the issue to the Joint Commission, which has been established under the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, as the deal is known, to oversee it and address issues arising from its implementation.

"We said that if the [visa] law is finalized and is not stopped, we will call for the Joint Commission to convene. But with the letter, there is no need to do so because the US secretary of state has made a solemn vow not to allow the new law to get in the way of JCPOA," said the head of the Foreign Ministry's office for implementation of the JCPOA, ISNA reported.

"To us, this is quite satisfactory and a firm guarantee."

In response to the Nov. 13 Paris attacks, the US House of representatives passed a bill tightening security requirements for visa applications by citizens of 38 countries, who have been allowed to enter the United States under a visa waiver program in place since 1986.

US President Barack Obama approved legislation on Friday as part of a trillion-dollar spending bill, which now requires those from the visa waiver countries who have visited Syria, Iraq, Iran or Sudan in the past five years to obtain a visa to travel to the United States.

The move was strongly criticized by Iranian officials who described it as a clear breach of the JCPOA.

Over 100 lawmakers issued a note to President Hassan Rouhani calling for a strong response to the measure.

The backlash and demand by Iranian diplomats for explanations from the US administration compelled Kerry to send a letter to his Iranian counterpart Mohammad Javad Zarif on Sunday, reassuring him that the US will meet all JCPOA commitments.

"I wanted to get back to you in response to your inquiry about amendments to our Visa Waiver Program. First, I want to confirm to you that we remain fully committed to the sanctions lifting provided for under the JCPOA. We will adhere to the full measure of our commitments, per the agreement. Our team is working hard to be prepared and as soon as we reach implementation day, we will lift appropriate sanctions," Kerry said in the letter.

"I am also confident that the recent changes in visa requirements passed in Congress, which the Administration has the authority to waive, will not in any way prevent us from meeting our JCPOA commitments and that we will implement them so as not to interfere with legitimate business interests of Iran."

Kerry noted that there are "a number of potential tools available," including multiple entry 10-year business visas and programs for expediting business visas to prevent the bill from interfering with Iran's legitimate business interests.